Winnipeg DJs – What To Know, What To Ask

Whether you are looking to hire or are the dj yourself there are a few really important questions both the customer and artist needs to know and ask one another. So let’s dive right in!

Disclaimer – No, you don’t have to be from Winnipeg for these to apply but this article will have a few Winnipeg entertainment companies mentioned for locals looking!

Theme

Winnipeg DJ

Customer to the DJ: What can you offer for the theme of my event?
Is this a wedding, fashion or art show? Maybe this is happening within a club environment and you need country music only! Your entertain will need to know this information and you need to know if this is within their realms of services. Don’t assume every DJ has ever track ever made, nor that all djs offer all the same services.

Disc jockey to the Client: What is the theme of your event?
If you say YES to the gig not realizing they needed folk music and all you have is hip-hop you might not be the person for the job or silly enough not prepared for the day of the gig. Find what sort of atmosphere they are going for.

Services

Winnipeg Disc Jockey

Customer to the DJ: What services do you provide?
Do you need music, games and someone to coordinate between vendors? Maybe it’s for your wedding and you’re in need of dj to direct the photographer as to where you will be entering the venue, as well as speaking with the catering company about when dinner will be served. (Extra tips on wedding djs here.)

Disc jockey to the Client: What services do you need?
Maybe the venue is expecting you to bring your own sound and gear and doesn’t realize that your rider sates that they are to provide the equipment. You may be an electronic music artist that allows for artistic freedom and they are looking for someone to cater directly to their needs outside of your brand. Knowing this allows you to offer the right entertainment company if this is NOT what you provide.

Budget

Winnipeg djs

Customer to the DJ: What would I be looking at paying?
Keep in mind the artist will need to know what exactly you need, ie. sound, hours djing, music style etc. to give you the right price.

Disc Jockey to themselves: What is a fair price?
This is more of a question towards the entertainment company themselves. This is where your “DJ Fee Calculator” comes in handy. You’ll need to figure out the amount of hours you’ll spend preparing, money spent on music (if you need additional) rentals and promo including the hours spent setting up, performing and taking down gear.

Previous Events

Winnipeg DJ

Customer to the DJ: What experience do you have?
If the price is a little too good to be true, you may want to question their experience. As it’s said in the industry, “Good djs ain’t cheap and cheap djs ain’t good.” That isn’t to say there aren’t some great ones under valuing their services, but take the time to find out what previous events this djs has been involved with. This can include checking out their website and social pages to see what sort of feedback and projects they have been involved with, to reviewing their press-kit.

Client Tip: If you are a club owner and you are on the look out for DJs that are also great at marketing their events, or running special themed nights, find out if your dj has a press-kit with reference to previous work.

Disc jockey to client: What experience do you have as an event coordinator?
If you are playing for a first time promoter that is stating they are providing sound equipment, there are some things that can go wrong if they aren’t aware of whom they are hiring. It’s not to say this person isn’t capable of throwing a great event but you’ll want to ensure the person has the knowledge and support so that the event will run as smoothly as possible. As an artist there are few things that are worse then showing up at an event where the sound engineer does not know what they are doing and YOU end up looking like the unprofessional one while playing.

Available for Art & Fashion Shows In Winnipeg
Kilma (Electronica)
Cherry Tree Productions

Available for Club / Lounge In Winnipeg
Kilma (Electronica)
Bomb Squad Entertainment (Top 40 – Electronica)

Available for Weddings & Socials In Winnipeg / Manitoba Area
Kenny Beats
Bomb Squad Entertainment
Gudlite Entertainment
Cherry Tree Productions
Special Request Weddings

Available for Bar Mitzvah Djs
Cherry Tree Productions

Throwing a Wedding Social? Here is our 2016 list of places that donate!

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7 Reasons You Should Never Do A DJ Gig For Free

Never do a dj gig for free

Negotiating wages and benefits in your career not only helps secure a living but sets standards and requirements for the people you work with. This idea appears to be lost on many artists. All too often people put those requirements aside because it doesn’t feel like work. What many fail to see is how it can negatively affect not only the value others put in them but the quality of their local scene. While disc-jockeys seem to have many more responsibilities now a days, all too often they are not being fairly compensated. With no real risk or obligations set for many of these promoters we find an over-saturated market with a quantity of underwhelming events. These are the 7 reasons I believe you should never do a dj gig for free.

never dj for free

1. Why buy the cow when you’re getting the milk for free?
Are you handing out the goodies for free? For some, djing has turn into the dating world’s faux pas.  People become questionable about the product or service they are getting when they get it for so cheap or even free. It’s important to set standards for oneself and that means a reasonable price, with requirements that everyone can be happy with.

never dj for free

2. Hobby vs. Pay Cheque
To you doing a DJ gig might just be this fun thing you do that feels really great. For someone else it’s not just their passion but income. If you lost your job tomorrow because someone was willing to do yours for free or even half the price, what implications would that have on the quality of your life?

Never Dj For Free

3. Quantity vs Quality
When there is an over saturated market of promoters cutting corners wherever they can and artists so desperate to play they will dj for free, everyone misses out. Quality events have less attendance, quality DJs often are missed out on and it brings down the overall experience people have when they go out to these parties.

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4. Undercutting Other DJs:
I like to use the example of sweatshops vs. buying local.  When clubs can get their DJs for cheap or free they often stop focusing on quality artists. It’s not just a pay cut for you, but for everyone. This often means that you’ve got DJs that may need a bit more time practicing before playing out those headlining slots.

Note: While it’s not uncommon for a newer dj to do a few opening slots in the beginning of their career (year 1) as they get used to playing out live, it’s not good practice when it’s headlining slots with no pay as well.

Never DJ for Free


5. Giving the DJ a bad name

While someone with more experience can create a really great atmosphere noting the settings that they are in, some of the less experienced DJs can create almost an underwhelming or overload of bad choice in music ruining the experience for others. For example: Playing heavy hitters in a lounge environment where people are drinking wine and eating their dinner.

Never dj for free

6. Your Value
If someone asks you what your fee is and you low ball it or offer it up for free, they may question your abilities. It’s like the photographer that offers you a ridiculously discounted rate, you may be questioning if they are capable of coming up with a product worth sharing in the first place.

never dj for free

7. No Risk No Gain
Ever hear someone say they are “doing it for the music.” What if you were actually causing more trouble for the “scene?” When there is little to no risk for a promoter there is no real drive to deliver. As talked about in Don’t Get Screwed, when djs don’t establish ground rules some promoters will walk all over them. This may even mean the djs themselves are not putting as much work into their DJ sets or promotion with no promise of pay.

never dj for free

When is it okay?
Sometimes your have to make a mistake in order to learn this answer. For example someone might tell you that it will be great exposure to come out and do a gig for free but fail in doing any real promotion for their event. At the end of the day, there is always a payoff. Even for the dj that does the free gig and no one shows up. To them it’s the chance to practice, put another date on their booked sheet or maybe they got some great networking done and landed paying gigs. At the end of the day you must know your value and what is worth your time. Maybe it’s helping out a friend, maybe it is trading work for work. Anytime you decide to do free work, it’s important to ask yourself, “What’s in it for me? How might it affect me in the future? What impact will it have on my scene?”

Never dj for free

Creating The Scene You Want To Be In:

While some people think undercutting djs will get them ahead, in the long run it won’t last. When a group of people stand together and require better treatment it is a very powerful thing. As we don’t have a dj union it’s important that as individuals you set your standards. Sharing that success and knowledge to band together is just as important too. In order to create equal opportunities for all we must be the change we want to see in others. I am a true believer that when we stand together we make an impact.

Other helpful articles you might dig!

5 Reasons Djs Need Bigger Goals
Are You The Weakest Dj?
Djs Stuck and Going No Where Fast
The Difference Between a Good DJ and a Great DJ

The truth about landing Artist Representation with Founder of Cyber Groove Scott McCusker.

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Looking for an Artist Management company but don’t know who to talk to or how to get noticed? Who better than the professionals to explain the ins and outs of artist management. I ask Scott McCusker the founder of Cyber Groove and he gives some surprising answers and advice on the matter.

StateofMind

State Of Mind

Before we get into it, what exactly is Artist Management? What do you do? What can an artist expect?

Thank you for the introduction Kilma, and hope I can provide your reading audience with some sort of value.

With this question it is better just to introduce all the different roles that work with artists to fulfill their end goals. There are managers, agents, and then Public Relations / Press people.

A manager works with an artist to present them with opportunities in order to organically build a fan base with them so their career can flourish. Managers also review all in coming booking opportunities from Agents to make sure it is a good fit for the artist, and they will also review all other business dealings such as contract negotiations.

Agents facilitate the bookings for a given artist using their existing demand. Also an agent will present that artist to promoters and talent buyers in the attempt to get shows even if they are not known in that given area.

Public Relations and Press people publicize all of these opportunities, and bookings so more fans and connections can be created.

If an artist has all of these people on board and has actual talent and everyone does the work they aren’t guaranteed a successful career but they should do pretty damn good.

I am both an agent and a manager, although I do not manage and act as an agent for the same artists. This would not be in their best interest.

Within my primary role of an agent I work with promoters mainly throughout North America and put artists onto shows. In the management role I set up short term goals with my artists and we work together to achieve them. The goal is to build as many fans and connections as possible so we can transition them from our management to our agency or shop them to a more suited agency if we do not line up with their career path.

In general, getting a manager or an agent, an artist can expect a lot of work. I become a member of a team when I work with artists. I don’t carry the weight of everything, this isn’t realistic. If an artist lives in the studio when he isn’t popular then he will remain this way. All you need is 1,000 loyal fans and you have yourself a career. However, engagement is the way to capture these people so you must be out there. The music is important but when you hit play, who is listening?

prolix-cartel
Prolix

  • If you have artist representation the tours will start rolling in:

Obtaining a manager or an agent does not mean that you will start to get shows right off the bat. Getting shows is based on the demand a given artist has and how many asses you can put in seats. Will getting an agent help? Yea sure since the promoters we work with usually trust us so when we speak a new name to them, they will listen. If it is a local agency to you then the chances for more local shows are pretty much guaranteed,  but I am referring to regional or national touring placement.

Having a top chart tunes helps you land more bookings:

Top charting tunes do matter, but more so just to validate your abilities. This is where your manager or PR people come in. They will be able to take this and shop your tunes onto larger labels or work out collaborations with established artists and then that’s really when things start to happen because naturally your reach will be larger therefore more fans will be in existence. Also promoters who can market effectively can present you in a better light since you have become marketable.

  • If you get signed to a big label, artist management companies are jumping for the opportunity to represent you:

This used to be the case, all of us industry folk used to find artists using the Beatport Top 10. We would bring artists on and work with them and that was great while it existed. Then all of a sudden it didn’t matter anymore since the system was a bit flawed. Now you can’t tell what’s what anymore. For promotional use though, it is great.

  • You don’t need a strong online presences to get quality gigs. (Social Media isn’t that important.)

Social media is important however, it goes back to fans and demand. If your social media follows and likes are paid for then those likes or follows from China or India isn’t going to help you. Social media is so you can be social with your following. What you should be doing is engaging them and bring them all off line (ie. Email list / Blog). Still to this day, promoters do look at these numbers and I do have artists who get passed up because of artists who have these inflated numbers. An artist shouldn’t want to work with that kind of promoter right?

  • If you are really talented someone will discover you. Ie: Artist, Promoters, Labels, Management Companies

If you are super talented in time you will be noticed because heat rises right? However this goes back to the artist who just sits in the studio, if no work is being done on the brand or to capture fans then even the most connected agent or manager won’t have much to use in order to get you out there. So for those artists who are super talented and just don’t have any business experience I am sure you can find someone to help you. If your music moves people, finding help is just a question away.

Zardonica

What are some other misconceptions?

There are really no misconceptions, just people who don’t know the roles well enough to know how to split up the work or responsibilities. I get artists who tell me I don’t promote their releases enough. I have to remind them I am their agent so they should look into getting a person in PR. We promote our artists since all content of our artists will help in the booking process but outside of Facebook, Twitter, and our mailing lists there we just can’t help with. Then I have artists who want to get into other areas of this business and they come to me on why this isn’t happening. I suggest for them to get a manager. An agent does one thing, get an artist gigs. Gigs now of days will be the most consistent source of income an artist can get.

What are your pet peeves working in this scene? (Promoters with no response/refusal or contacts/deposits.

Pet peeves, oh Kilma, don’t get me started. In this business there is a 10% response rate and that is after the 4th follow up. So yea that is probably the big one. In my eyes, it is rude not to respond to people who spent the time to generate an email to you, or pick up the phone. My advice to those who ignore emails and phone calls is to “Grow a Pair”. Say “No, Thank You”. If that is your answer I am able to move on to the next person who may want to work with me. The second is the question, “How Much?” Stay tuned for the guide I wrote up about this whole topic, I’ll share it with you once I am done with the design.

freakyflow

Freaky Flow

Before we move into advice you have for artists, tell us a bit about Cyber Groove. What you offer that is unique from others companies and how you continue to stand apart.

Cyber Groove deals primarily within bass music (Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Electro). We dabble in house as well pretty much if it’s a great sound and it moves me emotionally and appeals to my promoter public we can work with it. We have been around since October 2000 starting out as a NYC promoter company. After we got over the promotional bug, we went into the agency game.

How I believe we are different from other agencies is the quality control on all sides of our business. We get back in touch within 24hrs, we give every promoter at all levels an opportunity to work with us, we represent great positive people (I have a unwritten no s**t head clause on my artist agreement) that are extremely talented. Most important we work with promoters to ensure that every step of the process is on point and that their shows are successful. We are authentic and we do what is right. Not everything is about making the quick buck, we are not in the business to put promoters out of business.

KilmaVibebannerKilma

Back story: When I was looking for representation what made you decide I was the right fit for Cyber Groove AM?

Kilma, you appealed to us because you are marketable, talented, and persistent. I like artists with a hustle to them since that is a key trait of a successful artist. Those who sit back and wait for things that happen usually don’t make it.

What advice do you have for artists looking for representation? How can they put themselves on your radar?

Do your ground work and start to build yourself up locally. It is better to approach an agency when you have something to show. If you have a number of tunes signed to mid-level labels then maybe it is time to reach out to a manager or a PR person to see about building up your name in your area. With this you will most likely get bookings and you can take it from there. If you can do it in one city, the chances of bleeding over into other scenes should be easy. Once you can take on a region, then it might be agency time. Agencies really don’t look out for artists all the time; they usually fall into our laps. Artists do this by having someone we know directly get in touch with us about that artist, or they just get in touch with us directly.

Where do you see Cyber Groove in a year from today? 5 years?

I would say in a year, we should have our agency pretty well sorted with an active touring schedule for a majority of our artists. Our management roster should also be pretty strong as well. In this business you have to take it, day by day, so I can’t even forecast accurately. Watch our journey!

nc17NC-17

Anything else?

Keep in touch with us! Get on our Facebook (http://www.Facebook.com/cybergrooveprod), Twitter (@cybergroove), website (http://www.CyberGrooveAM.com), and our blog (http://cybergrooveprod.wordpress.com). We will also be forming a Podcast soon enough and the home for that will be http://www.CyberGrooveRadio.com. Thank you Kilma for giving us a place to spread our message #BeSimple

Tips on how to have the BEST DJ SET live… EVER!

(Warning: Taking this advice in no way makes me responsible for your actions. Use them at your own risk.)

If you have a sense of humor, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this. If you don’t, it’s best you back away slowly.

1. Play bangers all night.
Did the guy before you play that Lady Gaga song? Play it again, you can never play a popular tune too many times. That’s why they play it on the radio every 20 minutes, right? Playing banging tracks all night will keep the energy high. No time for breathing room.

 

From FierceGifs on Tumblr.com

2.Dance around lots.
I’m not just talking those Jesus rockstar poses, get right in there with your arms waving around, clapping. Hell, jump on the table and show em’ how serious you are about getting the party started! If you’re going to werk it, you might as well twerk it.

By: Vera-Trace on Tumblr

3. Use every effect on that mixer.
Really throw your elbows into it, so everyone knows how hard you are working. Don’t be a boring DJ that only uses that cross fader with long progressive mixes, EQing each track. Flanger, Robot, Echo, Filter… don’t know what it does? Learn on the fly. What better place to try something new, then with the whole crew!

By: TrippyLightsAndRaveMusic on Tumblr

4. Throw your levels into the Red.
The Redder, the better! That’s what I always say. If it’s not lighting up like a Christmas Tree, you’re not doing it right.

By: AngelOVast on Tumblr

5. Throw some cake!
The plastic cup of beer will do if you don’t have cake handy. People won’t think you are a Rock Star unless they get some food or a drink thrown in their face. We don’t want them to miss out on a good time, right?

 

By: Fnk-Rage on Tumblr

 

6. Get Krunk and Stir Shit Up
You’re the best thing since sliced bread. I mean, you’re a DJ for fuck sake. You might as well be on the cover of Rolling Stones. You got this. So who cares if you fall off the stage and chip off your front tooth? You are Mother fucking DJ Swanky-As-Fuck.

They got nothing on YOU!

Let’s be serious for a moment: I was doing some late night, online research to check out the tips being given to some of the newer djs. Some of the articles were on point, while others were just ridiculous. I had to write my own “Tips” that clearly should not be taken seriously. However it is clear to me that someone, somewhere thought they were in the KNOW when giving tips like this in a very “serious” manner. I just couldn’t help myself.

Here is the even funnier part, I had so many choices of Aoki throwing cake and the only thing I search was, “Aoki.”

There is literally people that look so excited about getting cake in the face their is a group for it.

As far “DJ Mixer” most Gif files that popped up were all completely Red-Lined too! Go figure.

TrippyLightsandRaveMusic

Steve Aoki throwing Cakes – Tumblr


May God have mercy on our soul.

Like it? Share it. Have a funny story, reply in the comments.

How I came to be a DJ.

Funny story time.

I went over to a mutual friend’s place and the guys were playing on a pair of technic turntables. I was pretty excited and asked if I could try. Their response, “It’s too technical for you.”
I was intrigued. Some might say a bit determined and I just had to try. The very next day I found a friend willing to let me try it out. Wouldn’t you know I was hook immediately!

Kilma Music

Who would have thought almost 10 years later I’d experience touring across North America, get to visit other countries, release music, sing, host multiple radio shows and even start my own business helping other DJs? So many blessings I was able to experience because of my curiosity and drive.

The message I want to leave everyone with it that, regardless of what people say if you really want to do something, you have the ability to make it happen. Heck, being told you can’t, might even push you to do it that much more.

Do you have a similar story? Make sure you let me know below.

What happened to DJ SW@T?

If you know me, you know I am into loads of different music. I was originally turned on to Drum and Bass music from the start. I liked the fast paced sounds, and how it was influenced by so many other genres. From that dub and reggae sound to a more ambient and soulful feel.

I was lucky enough to work with Viper Recording’s producer Inside Info. We released two tracks “Awkward” and “Bottled” and ended up filming my first music video for “Bottled.”

There were definitely situations that made me ask myself a lot of questions about the scene and how women were viewed in it. Something that probably sounds ridiculous to so many considering the rights we have in our country but it was something more and more women had brought to my attention over the years. Situations that came to light as I experience abuse and harassment. This was actually one of the reasons I was inspired to create the Drum and Bass Girls of Canada in 2009. I created with my sisters a roster of strong women across North America in Drum and Bass ready to strengthen our brands while working together in support and motivation.

I talked about the differences in a very important interview I did with Girls on Decks. It really forced me to reflect on everything I had been through and what I was feeling in the present. It was lovely to get it out there, as typically it wasn’t something I enjoyed talking about.

I dabbled into other electronic music genres like dubstep and electro but I found myself back into house and techno music each time.

Before fully switching over, I worked with local artists Tripwave on a tune, “Feel it” featuring my vocals. An elaborated music video came out of that production directed and produced by Cory Quinn. It’s was the craziest two days of filming, not sure where I got the energy from but by the end of it I was dead to the world. The end result, one amazing video.

Once realizing my new niche I quickly saw how SW@T was heavily  known in the drum and bass community and now dubstep community with “Whispers – Biome feat. SW@T” radio 1 play.  It occurred that my new interest in music was lost on many fans and people that had come to know the name SW@T. It was time to make that clean break and move on in a new light.

Around came Kilma. The name Kilma is from this old 70’s movie. It’s super weird like most of the movies from that era… like Barberella. None the less is reminded me of my jungle roots since she was an women of the amazon and was a part of a tribe of women that ran the island. It just bought me right back to the empowerment of women. Her tribe was all female and women ran the world.

As I started playing with the word I ended up with some fun tag lines, like “Don’t Kilma Vibe” and “Kilma Tempa.” It was somewhat fitting considering my old tag line was, “Don’t F#%$ with SW@T.” On the outside it sounded like some super angry person, but really it was always about taking care of business. Like any professional you’ve got to get things done.

I dropped everything, my old alias, the music and started from scratch again. As opportunity would have it, I was able to re-brand in the Jungle as Kilma. How fitting, eh? I was given the chance to play out in Costa Rica in February of 2014. I made great new friends, saw a part of the world I’d never been to and got to play one of the most beautiful Envision Festival. It was quite the intense experience and I will never forget what knowledge I took from that trip.

When I returned home I was buzzing with different ideas, I couldn’t wait to get started. I got back in touch with a friend,Chris Tweten aka Tweten Online. He is the social media genius of Winnipeg, working in the Ramp Up Manitoba space with like minded entrepreneurs. I knew that if I wanted to make a real impact this time around, I needed to be working with people that could offer what I could not. The idea of #BrandMeSilly came to me because I always had loads of people asking me questions about branding and promoting themselves. I wanted to take those bits of advice and turn it into real knowledge that when used properly people could monetize from. With the help of Tweten Online we were able to come up with workshop to help strengthen our local community.

Another project that I started up some months ago with the Re-Brand is “The Basement Sessions.” It’s a live stream radio show that happens each Saturday evening on UStream.TV. It’s loads of fun and I get to share this show with my friends both locally and across the globe. People tune in, watch, get in the chat room and we get to be interactive, silly and enjoy one another’s company.

I think my most favourite part of the re-brand is the fresh start. It’s a very different scene of people and environment. My goal was to work with people looking for a new, exciting, and different experience. With so many DJs to choose from now a days it’s easy to get lost in opinions. With me, they knew I was going to be different from the average DJ and cater to a different crowd.

To me, djing it like dating. If you meet someone new and try to be who you think they would be into instead of just being you, you’ll end up with someone that likes the phony you. If you dj music you don’t like, that will show too. I think in order to get your own crowd of people you have to stop worrying about catering to “the people” and start worrying about pleasing yourself. The people that dig your sounds will come around.